October 2016 Meeting Notes

Minutes from our October 19, 2016 Meeting

(prepared by Peter Rolnick)

Present: Peter Rolnick, Terri Macey, Eric Johnson (by phone!), Kai Hedstrom, Barbara Eckstein, Chris Bergan.

  • We welcomed Kai, who is new to ICCA. He just graduated from Luther College, and is working with Americore helping to make public housing in the area more environmentally friendly. Welcome, Kai!
  • Eric talked about the reasons he is feeling optimistic that we can succeed at dealing with the challenges climate change presents. [An outline of what he said, including links to references, is included at the end of these minutes.]
  • We each studied a CCL “LaserTalk” (brief talking points on a subject connected to climate and a revenue-neutral carbon fee, prepared by CCL), after which we each explained about what we had learned. Besides learning new things, this was great practice in trying to explain an idea to others. The topics we talked about were:
    • Nuclear Power (Barbara): CCL takes no position on whether or not nuclear should be part of our path away from fossil fuels toward totally sustainable energy.
    • British Columbia’s Revenue-Neutral Carbon Fee (Terri): British Columbia has had a plan similar to CF&D in place for a few years, and it has decreased greenhouse emmisions relative to areas of Canada which have no such plan, and there has been no downturn in the economy.
    • Australian Carbon Tax Repealed (Peter): Australia had a carbon tax for two years which did decrease emissions, but it was repealed by Parliment. This is primarily because it was not a revenue-neutral tax (though Barbara pointed out that it was also coincident with a switch from a liberal to a conservative majority in Parliment).
    • Subsidies (Kai): CCL supports, eventually, ending all subsidies for energy production. Currently the ratio of subsidies for fossil-fuel energy to those for sustainable alternatives is around five to one.
    • Climate Basics (Chris): Temperature is increasing, it is caused by human activites (burning of fossil fuels, unsustainable agricultural practices, etc.). The science of how increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the Earth to warm has been well-understood for years.
    • Biofuels (Eric): CCL takes no stand on biofuels. Though most current ethanol production leads to a net increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, if there was a fee on carbon then the true cost of those aspects of ethanol production which are unsound would be addressed, or it would no longer be economically feasible (especially with no energy subsidies–see above.)
  • We talked about the movie Dear President Obama (about the negative consequences of fracking), which some of us saw recently. We also discussed the challenge of deciding what personal choices to make in how we each live (as relates to climate change), and the challenge of how to best involve ourselves in ICCA–how to make the best use of each of our unique talents in making our organization effective while being respectful of ourselves and our time.
  • Terri will look into hosting a viewing of the CCL episode of Years of Living Dangerously. Peter will connect her with details about having a viewing party [DONE].
  • Kai expressed an interest in going to DC in November for Congressional Education Day; he will look into whether or not that would be feasible. Peter will put out a request for funds to help with travel expenses [DONE], which some people at the meeting said they would be able to do if needed.
  • In discussing tabling, Barbara told us about a project she and her students have been working on gathering information from Iowans about their experiences with extreme climate events. It is a collection of stories–a “people’s weather map”. In order to connect with more stories, and more people outside the “Iowa City environmentalists circle”, she suggested making our tabling be about collecting and sharing these stories, without any pushing of CCL or CF&D (though if people ask about that we could tell them).
  • When some of us (including Barbara and Peter) met with Loebsack staffer Dave Leshtz in August Dave had suggested organizing a joint labor/environmentalist conference. Barbara suggested that the movie Deep Water Horizon, besides being a good movie, focused particularly on labor–perhaps a showing of that movie could be part of such a conference.



Historical Reasons

Technological Reasons

Political Reasons

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